Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Attend Mass with Devotion and Reverence - hints from St. Leonard of Port Maurice

"Then, holy Mass being ended, make an act of thanksgiving to God in the words, Agimus tibi gratias; and leave the church with a contrite heart, as if you were coming down from Calvary." (St. Leonard of Port Maurice 'The Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass')

To listen to the advice of the Franciscan saint, Leonard of Port Maurice, and to leave the church as though one were coming down from Calvary, is to leave Church with the disposition of Our Lady of Sorrows. In the book The Hidden Treasure, Saint Leonard offers many reflections to encourage reverent attendance at Mass.

I. First part of the Mass from the beginning to the Gospel

1. "Humble yourself with Jesus, and plunge yourself down in thought into the depth of your nothingness; confess sincerely how wretched and how merely nothing you are before so immense a majesty;

2. "Pursue the exercise of forming many such internal acts of joy, that God should thus be infinitely honored. Repeat, over and over again: ‘Yes, my God, I delight in the infinite honor which results to Thy Majesty from this Holy Sacrifice."

II. From the Gospel to the Elevation

1. Contrition for past sins

2. "O dearest Jesus, give me the tears of Peter, the contrition of Magdalene, and the grief of those saints who, once sinners, were afterward true penitents, in order that in this Mass I may obtain a general pardon of my sins."

III. From the Elevation to Communion

1. "Stir your soul to wonder at the overflowing torrent of great and good gifts either bestowed on you or designed for you by God, and then offer to Him in return a gift of infinite value, that is, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Then invite all the angels also, and all the saints, to thank God in your behalf…"

IV. From Communion to the end

1. Make a spiritual communion

2. "Look upon God Who is within you, and then summon up holy courage to ask of Him many graces, … do not ask things of small importance, but ask great graces…"

3. "Offer petitions also again and again for yourself, your children, your friends, relations, and acquaintance; ask help for all your needs, both spiritual and temporal; ask also the fullness of all good, and relief from all evils for holy Church: and do not ask any of these things with lukewarmness, but rather with a great confidence, making sure that your prayers, united with those of Jesus, shall indeed be heard. Then, holy Mass being ended, make an act of thanksgiving to God in the words, Agimus tibi gratias, etc.; and leave the church with a contrite heart, as if you were coming down from Calvary." St. Leonard of Port Maurice, The Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass, (Tan Books: 1952), 57-61.

Following St Leonard, pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary:
"O Most Holy Virgin, already I am at hand and about to receive thine and my Jesus. From thy hands, I propose to receive Him. Hold Him forth to me as thou didst to the shepherds, and the holy kings, and to St. Simeon prepare me to receive Him with love. Give Him to me quickly and pray to Him to fill me with His dearest benediction; and do thou accompany it with thine." (St. Leonard of Port Maurice)

And give her your holy resolution:
The next opportunity I have to attend Mass, I will bring these suggestions along with me and I will try to leave Church remembering Our Lady of Sorrows. For today, I will make a spiritual Communion and read through the prayers of this great saint.

Be thankful to God for graces received.

The picture represents the Mass at the RC Church in Oxford St in Manchester. Several times in the past I have attended FSSP celebrated Traditional Mass at this Church while visiting relatives and it brings me a lot of good memories.

Adopted from Mary's Vitamin 

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St Therese and her remedy for dark night of the soul

I will hear what the Lord will speak to me (Ps 84)

Happy is that soul which heareth the Lord speaking within her, and from His mouth receiveth the word of comfort! Happy ears, which receive the accents of the divine whisper, and take no notice of the whisperings of the world. Happy ears, indeed, which hearken to Truth itself teaching within, and not to the voice which soundeth without. (Imitation of Christ, Book 3)

When I was seventeen and eighteen I found much light in the writings of St John of the Cross, and he was my principal guide, but later on all spiritual writers left me in great dryness of spirit, and do so still. However beautiful and moving a book may be, as soon as I begin to read I am incapable of taking it in, and my heart is troubled; or if I do understand, my mind is unable to meditate further. In this state of helplessness the Scriptures and the Imitation come to my assistance, and in them I find a hidden manna, pure and sustaining.
The Gospel is my chief support in prayer, and I find in it all that my poor little soul needs. I am always finding new light there, and hidden, mysterious meanings; I learn by experience that the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17: 21). The divine Master has no needs of books or rather teachers to do His work; He instructs the soul silently, without words. I have never heard Him, but i know that He is within me, inspiring and prompting me at the moment I need it most. it is not usually at my prayer that I see this new light, but when doing my ordinary work during the day. (St Therese 'Histoire d'une Ame')

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

I do not serve Thee, Lord, for gain,
That were a hireling's way!
Love does not wait with outstretched hand
For payment day by day.
My heart's love is my only wealth,
And this I bring to Thee;
I only ask that to the end
Thy handmaid I may be.
St Therese 'Poems'

Picture represents painting displayed in the choir of the Discalced Carmelite Church of Our Lady of the Brown Scapular and St Elijah in Czerna Friary where St Raphael Kalinowski was a prior. To visit photogalery of the Church and the cloister click here

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Monday, November 15, 2010

St Raphael Kalinowski OCD - click to read short biography from Vatican Website

Jesus, hope of suffering humanity, our refuge and our strength, whose light pierces the black cloud that hang over our stormy sea, enlighten our eyes so that we can direct ourselves toward You Who are our harbour. Guide our bark with the rudder of the nails of Your cross, lest we drown in the storm. With the arms of this cross rescue us from the turbulent waters and draw us to Yourself, our only repose, Morning Star, Sun of Justice, for with our eyes obscured by tears, we can catch a glimpse of You there, on the shores of our heavenly homeland. Redeemed by You, we pray: Salvos nos fac propter nomen tuum - "Save us for the sake of Your holy name". And all this through Mary. ("Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to His Life and Spirituality" by S. Praskiewicz, OCD)

To read polish translation of the book by Jean-Baptiste Bouchaud "Le R.P. Raphaël de S. Joseph. Deuxième partie. Vie religieuse" click HERE
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

'Saints For Sinners' - click to read online great classic by Archb Alban Goodier, SJ

For a long time I wondered why God has His preferences, and why souls did not all receive the same measure of grace. I was astonished that great sinners like St Paul, St Augustine and St Mary Magdalen should be granted such extraordinary favours, and almost forced to accept them. When reading the Lives of the Saints I could not understand why our Lord treated some as privileged souls even in their cradles, removing any obstacles that might keep the from Him, and preserving unspotted their baptismal innocence, whilst on the other hand innumerable savages died without ever hearing the name of God.
Jesus Himself taught me this mystery. He laid open before me the book of Nature, and I understood that all the flowers He has created are beautiful; that the loveliness of the rose and the purity of the lily in no way lessen the sweet scent of the hidden violet of the appealing simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the little flowers wanted to be roses, Nature would lose her garb of Spring, and the fields would no longer be starred with little blossoms. It is the same in the domain of souls, the living garden of the Lord. (St Therese 'Story of the Sols')

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